Letter of Jude Study
Jude is perhaps the most obscure book of the New Testament. This is not merely due to its length, but the fact that the second letter of Peter covers the same ground in more depth. Many commentators believe that Jude's letter preceded Peter's letter and that the author of 2nd Peter expanded on the earlier theme.
In the early church there was a growing group called Gnostics who believed they perfectly understood the message of Jesus. They felt their understanding of the message of redemption as well as the dichotomy of the spirit and the material realm set them above normal morality. Earthly sins were no longer seen as an impediment to salvation. Thus a licentious life could be wantonly led with no dire consequences and with the smiling approval of Christ himself.
Jude rails against this early schismatic belief, more than hinting that the wrath of God will at some point teach these Gnostics the error of their ways. Yet he instructs the faithful reader to show mercy to those who doubt the true faith (1:22), to show mercy mixed with fear - "while hating the very clothes" of the sinner. He warns of the imminent judgment and asks for the steadfast loyalty of all to Christ's true message.
Jude is a good short study, and has moderate depth for discussion. Some background on the period is very helpful, especially in understanding the reason and message of the epistle. Barclay provides excellent background for each passage and does a good job of applying the lesson to daily life.
Peter and Jude: A Life Application Bible Study is inexpensive and contains 13 lessons, charts, maps, study questions and notes. Visit our Life Application page for more information on how to use this work in a Bible study.
John and Jude, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study for a group and also as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.